Call me Trim Tab. And seek yours.

Are you clear on what a Trimtab is and how you can be one?

The engineer Buckminster Fuller is often cited for his use of trim tabs as a metaphor for leadership and personal empowerment. In the February 1972 issue of Playboy, Fuller said:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary—the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, call me Trim Tab.
—Buckminster Fuller
In our efforts to write as ourselves, make an impact on our readers and be effective in business, at the end of the day it is our opportunity to be that “trimtab.”
The first time I ever heard of this small, yet impactful part (be it for airplane or boat) was in 2003. I had met the author of a book on Buckminster Fuller, whose enthusiasm was so real and pure and ongoing (and continues to be.) He knew the philosophy and wisdom of Bucky Fuller like we know our ABCs.
Call me Trimtab.  Try it on for size for yourself if you dare. Imagine you and your writing as being a Trimtab for another.
How do you make yourself a Trimtab? Presuming you are willing, there are a myriad of ways through language and acts of service we can cause the “ripple”  in your readers, your clients, your peers, and those you have yet to meet!
Have you ever read (or overheard) something by someone you didn’t know personally that struck an important chord in you?
What about sharing your best self with intention, with the best hope of being that “little individual” who is at that moment “the trimtab” for the one you know or you don’t.
Apply every best practice you can enthusiastically embrace.
Be real. Be real. Be real.
And know that (or at least I feel) “heart-driven” writing manages to land so elegantly. How can it not?
I so feel like a broken record. And I am okay with it.
Write on…please and with a full heart. Please.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Deborah Drake. Bookmark the permalink.

About Deborah Drake

Deborah Drake is the founder of Authentic Writing Provokes, a full-time wordsmith, a publishing specialist, and an avid competitive storyteller. She champions the power of storytelling, good grammar, and on occasion--breaking the rules in the name of innovation. She has helped over a hundred clients develop, write, edit, and self-publish their website content, blogs, and books---Above all, she is an advocate for authentic writing, heart-based marketing, and bold self-promotion--that authentically reflects essence, vision, and mission. “What we can relate to personally, we can understand better, sooner, and more quickly. Authentic self-expression ALWAYS provokes." **Co-author of two non-fiction/self-help books, Burn Your Resume. You Need a Professional Profile and Message in a Bottle.** Deborah appreciates the stunning Pacific Northwest for its greenness even though she misses the salt air and sandy beaches of her native Monterey Peninsula--happily lives in Bellevue with her family, where she starts most days with an early morning walk to fuel her focus and creativity.

5 thoughts on “Call me Trim Tab. And seek yours.

  1. Hello Deborah,

    I am finally learning how to make comments on blogs and I felt it would be OK to post something on yours.

    Your insights on trim tab and how we can all make a positive impact on other people we come in contact with resonates well with me.

    A lot of good people in this world have gone out of their way to be of assistance when it was needed most and now I pay it forward as much as possible.

    The fun part is doing something good and moving on before it is noticed.

    Warm Regards,


    • Randall,

      Being a bearer of good deeds, tidings and being stealth about it is what I love as well. Recognition/acknowledgement is also sweet but a little goes a long way for me.

      Comment often and enjoy blogging yourself! You started off so well!

  2. I read this book back in the the late 1970’s, “Actualization, You Don’t Have to Rehearse to be Yourself” by Stewart Emery. This started me on the road to reading more on Self Actualization and being authentic. I was raised to speak your mind and to live with integrity, be honest and don’t lie. If you aren’t yourself, isn’t that a form of a lie?

    Good stuff, got me thinking which is why I love you and your writing.

    • Darylene,

      You are indeed a walking, breathing, speaking example of what I lovingly call “authentic self-expression.”

      If we are not ourselves, we experience less ease and more resistance, I find…And how that specifically applies to writing is as follows (in my opinion):

      If we write how we are told we “should” and it doesn’t harmonize with who we are, it lands “flat.” Now there are clearly better forms and practices to embrace: being clear, graceful grammar, compelling storytelling, being sensitive to our audience, being timely on subject matter and themes, to name a few.

      I am a chorus singer for write as yourself. Write about what you care about. Write about what you are curious about. Share an opinion as well. And that allows for our readers to get to know us bit by bit or all at once if we are that transparent.

      Being a trim tab strikes me as saying subtle is as subtle does and is the smaller agent that catalyzes ever more.

      Ever heard the statement about how the wings of the butterfly in motion may be the cause of a greater weather on the other side of the world?

      Blogging can be a gentle tool we use or the energy behind writing can be felt like a fire hose. I respond to less in your face prose myself, but that being said, I love direct communication when it counts most.

      Am I rambling on or making sense?

      I appreciate your artful directness for sure!

  3. Trim Tab, you definitely use your ability to steer large ships, and the creation of my Networking 4 Introverts group is proof that people are following your lead. I have always been inspired by a cousin of mine back home who decided one day to shuck all guys who asked her to the prom and take a special needs friend of her family’s. That little act of courage led to her high school sanctioning an entire prom for special needs youth in our hometown.

    I have always been amazed how one small act can cause a huge change somewhere else.

Leave a Reply to Phil Stalnaker Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *